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Dive Review of Caribbean Explorer I in
Bahamas

Caribbean Explorer I, Jun, 2006,

by Jeanne & Bill Downey, PA, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 39 reports with 6 Helpful votes). Report 2686.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Worldwide
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 83 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 60 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 130'
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Our group arrived in George Town throughout Saturday and were promptly met by a taxi sent by Explorer Ventures for a $10.00, fifteen minute ride to the Marine Services dock. Before introductions were even made, we were instructed by the Captain to set up our dive gear. Once that was done, they hauled our baggage to our rooms and we were allowed to explore the boat.

The boat is 100 long and efficiently laid out. The upper level has a couple tables under the shade and eight lounge chairs tied down out in the sun. The four cabins with private baths are on this level; two have double beds and two have double beds with upper bunk. The main level includes the dive deck, dining area, and galley. Down the steps in the dining area are the five cabins that share two showers and heads. Each cabin has a double bed, upper bunk, sink, and no window. All the cabins were small with not much standing room, but no one spent much time in them. Sharing the two bathrooms didnt elicit any complaints; there was also a toilet on the dive deck, along with two hot water showers.

The dive deck has the usual tank stations around the perimeter with cubby holes below. There is a 3-tiered camera table that quickly got crowded with more than half a dozen photographers and all their paraphernalia. There is a large camera rinse tank and another rinse tank for wet suits with an added disinfectant. Two wet suit hanging bars were in the center area, out of the way enough that they didnt slap you in the face or get in the way. With a group of friends, at least, it felt surprisingly roomy. Going down the steps at the stern was a good-sized entry area, and getting up the ladder was easy with the nice wide steps that were easy on the feet. The steps were closer together than normal so smaller steps were required.

Breakfast consisted of cereal, hot oatmeal, pancakes, eggs, bacon, and bagels. Lunch was anything from tacos to rigatoni, usually up on the sun deck. Supper ranged from steak to fish, served in the dining room. The food was very good and the chef tried to accommodate special dietary requests: unfortunately he was planning on leaving the boat for other opportunities. Soft drinks and crystal light were always available, as were cookies and fruit. Beer and wine were complimentary, and the common rule of no diving after you start drinking was enforced.

We started our trip with two easy dives about an hour away from George Town, at Stocking Island, then did a couple more on a sunken tugboat, including a night dive, while we waited for one suitcase to make its appearance. When it didnt show up, the boat headed for Long Island early the next morning. The farther east we went in the Bahamas, to Conception Island and Sal Salvador, the better the diving. On a night dive at Conception Island we watched a good-sized octopus fold itself over a fish which we could see trying to escape. We also saw turtles, schools of jacks, plenty of other fish and lots of cleaning stations, some with waiting lines. It was great to see so many decent sized Nassau and tiger groupers along with their smaller cousins. We also followed a dozen blue parrotfish and a lone hammerhead. At Wedge Point we wandered over to a coral ridge that evidently doesnt get much traffic from divers, as the fish were more curious than usual and easy to approach.

After spending a bumpy 3+ hours, we arrived at San Salvador with its deep walls, swim-troughs, expansive sandy slopes, and continual algae growth. We spent the next three days there and saw a dozen or more hammerhead sharks, huge porcupinefish, massive coral walls and barrel sponges, and lots of fish life. Oscar the grouper played with everyone and we didnt want to leave. We had requested diving at Rum Cay but were told they are rarely able to get there due to wind and sea conditions.

The last morning of diving, a 6am dive option was offered before the trek back toward George Town. The last dive was a very silty low-visibility dive off Conception Island rather disappointing as a last dive. Then it was back to George Town where the missing bag was waiting for its owner. We had dinner at a local restaurant and partied the night away. Saturday morning we were eventually politely kicked off the boat so they could get it ready for the next group; we wandered around town and eventually strolled back to the boat where the taxis were already loaded with our luggage, waiting to take us to the airport.

It had been over 20 years since we dove in the Bahamas; we were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the diving and number of hammerhead sharks we saw. Being on a liveaboard was great because neither the heat nor mosquitoes were a problem, and we were able to dive up to five times a day. We liked just about everything about the boat except the diving schedule and sites on the last day and our super strict head divemaster who wouldn't even let us in the dining area long enough to get a hot cup of tea after a dive if we had on damp swimsuits. There didn't seem to be any kind of bonding between crew members that is usually seen on a liveaboard, but very few underwater restrictions were imposed on our experienced group--the in-water staff was happy to be able to go off on their own with their cameras once everyone was in the water. All in all a great time.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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